Sewer FAQs

Questions & Answers

Is my home or property connected to the City’s sanitary sewers? If you feel there is a question of whether your home or business is connected to the sewer system, please call the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489).

I need to know where the City’s sanitary sewers are? If you need to know where the sanitary sewers are because excavation work is being planned call 1-800-344-7483 (DIG-RITE). If you need to know the location of sanitary sewers for any other reason call the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489).

Who do I call if I have a sewer backup? During business hours, call the City of Columbia Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489).  For after hour emergencies, call 573.441.5530. If an Operator is not inside the building, a telephone recorder will record any messages and it is checked every 30 minutes. The Operator will return your call and then dispatch the Sewer Maintenance personnel.

Is there a charge if I call the Sewer Utility about a sewer backup and it is determined that there is not a problem with the public sewer? There is no charge whether there is a problem found with the public sewer or not.

Who do I call about odor problems? If the odor is outside your home, contact the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489) and a Sewer Maintenance crew will be dispatched to determine the source of odor. If the odor is inside your house, contact the Building and Site Development Division at 573.874.7474.  A frequent cause for inside odors is a dry trap. Pouring a quart of water into all sinks, showers/tubs and floor drains may correct this problem. If it is felt that the odor may be of an explosive nature, the Fire Department should be called immediately at 9-1-1.

My stool just blew up! What happened? Water being splashed out of the toilet may occur when maintenance or cleaning crews are working in your area. The sewer cleaning process causes air movement through the sewer.  If your home’s ventilation pipes are clogged or are not large enough, this air movement through the sewer could force some water out of your toilet or drains. It is recommended that you keep your toilet lid down when the sewers are being cleaned. Call the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489) to determine if your problem occurred when the sewer main was being cleaned.

Why are there flags in my yard? It is generally because there is excavation work being planned in the area and the person, company or utility planning the work has requested “locates”. The flags mark the location of buried utility lines. Before the Sewer Utility would do any major excavation work (backhoe type work) on your property, you would be contacted unless an emergency situation exists.

Why did you put that manhole in my yard? When manholes are built, the tops of the manholes are left accessible. Later when homes and businesses are built, manholes are occasionally buried in yards and driveways. The Sewer Maintenance Cleaning Crew usually uncovers these “lost” manholes when they clean the sewers. The buried manholes are then turned over to the Repair Crew which adjust the manholes to grade so they are accessible again.  As long as the manholes can be adjusted using the 16 inches of allowable adjustment between the concrete manhole cone and metal frame, there is no charge for this work. If the manhole cone has to be removed (backhoe work) to properly adjust the manhole the cost is usually charged to the owner of the property where the manhole was buried. If you have any question about raising, or lowering, a manhole call the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489).

What can I dump down the sewers or my drains? Not much! For specific inquiries, call the Contact Center at 573.874.CITY (2489).